January 21, 2012

Lannis: A New Era

Christmas in the Lannis household marked a new era for us. Santa brought a Wii.

Yep. Our first gaming system.

Mr Lannis and I are no strangers to game systems, of course — we were brought up playing classic Nintendo. And when we moved in together, we were those cutting edge people who were thrilled to play sporadically on a hand-me-down Playstation One... this would be at about the same time the Playstation Three was hitting store shelves.

Because of this, I know I have the ability to latch on to a good game with horrifying competitive focus.

Yep. I magically transform into a vidiot.

It doesn’t have to be the latest-newest-best thing... if the story is good, and the worldbuilding solid, I’m in. Sure, I might squeal like I’m being physically attacked and spout obscenities to rival a drunken sailor, but I’m hooked.

I. will. win!

My last addiction was Final Fantasy VII, and since we sold that well-loved little PS One at a garage sale years ago, I’ve steered clear of epic fantasy games.

I simply have too much to do.

Since then, we’ve had nothing we’ve had our laptop. But it’s not used for games (unless you count Scrabble, which is addictive in an entirely different manner).

And other than the six-year-old’s reading program for school, the boys don’t touch the laptop. Oh, and we have a Leapfrog Leapster — a handheld educational game system, but nothing that strictly screams mindless video games!

Knowing how quickly kids latch onto electronic games, and knowing how important the first five years are in terms of formative development, Mr Lannis and I made the conscious decision to keep our kids away from gaming systems as long as possible.

Apparently, “as long as possible” came to an end at Christmas.

Due to play dates and general social interaction, the boys were beginning to notice that our house was a little bit different.

Firstly, because we don’t have cable or satellite — we have plenty of movies and pride ourselves on not having the TV on all day. And secondly, for our lack of a game system.

And our youngest was noticing. Mostly because he went to a friend’s house and became instantly addicted to the Nintendo Wii game Lego Batman.

This was back in the spring, and the Lego Batman game went onto the Christmas wish list.

And. didn’t. come. off.

Mr Lannis and I were planning on getting a system eventually, so over the summer months we decided it was time. But I Santa was determined not to blow a ton of money on the one big ticket item that would be sitting under the tree.

I watched the flyers. I waited. I debated. I logged sales.

Mr Lannis and I decided the best option for our family was the Mario Kart Wii Bundle — the system, the Mario Kart game, one remote, one nunchuk, and a steering wheel. We found the price to beat (Costco, $145, if you’re wondering), and waited.

Then the same bundle went on sale at Walmart for their anniversary week. $118! Seriously!

So, despite it being September at the time, I snatched it up. Then I also found another remote and nunchuk (for complete two-player play), at Costco ($62 together).

I cashed in Mastercard points to get a second steering wheel, and another game (Super Mario Galaxy) for free(!), and of course found a good price on the coveted Lego Batman game ($18).

Then, Mr Lannis discovered that a coworker had doubles of two of the original Wii games (Wii Play and Wii Sports Resort) due to a blended family and duplicate game systems. So we acquired those two games in gently-used condition for the low, low price of a good-old-fashioned baked goods exchange.

Now, though?

Now, halfway into January and faced with snowy, wet, cold days and lonely evenings when Mr Lannis is on afternoon shift (read: not home until after midnight).

Now I’m kind of wishing we hadn’t bothered.

Despite the low, low price of $200 for a complete system and four games...

Despite using game time as leverage to ensure boys listen and help with chores...

Despite having their imaginations sparked with possibilities, their drawings and Lego creations reflecting new characters and adventures...

Despite overhearing them reenact a live versions of Mario Kart in the basement on their plasma cars...

Why? Well, it’s partly because 90% of my kidlets’ conversations EVERYTHING pertains to Mario Kart or Lego Batman, now.

And partly because I’m really tired of collecting star bits to feed Lumas... those little buggers are hungry!

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

This time last year: My Library...And I Do Mean Mine